Presentation is everything when it comes to making a good impression on your audience, and as insignificant as it may seem, the type of font you decide to use has a big impact on how your audience perceives your brand. But choosing a font isn’t as simple as matching your typical branding. Email clients will only display certain fonts, so how do you make your fonts more email-friendly?
What is an email-safe font?
It may be tempting to use a super fancy or unique font to catch people’s attention and show off your brand’s personality, but unfortunately, there’s a possibility that your favorite font won’t display properly for every member of your audience. When an email client can’t find the font being used in an email, it will simply default to a web-safe font. These are fonts that are so widely used that 99% of web browsers and email clients have them, so you never have to worry about if your audience is seeing your message the way you intended for them to see it.
However, I understand how this may seem limiting, especially if you were really bent on using that Indie Flower font you just discovered that you believe will work perfectly in your emails. But don’t fret–below we’ll delve into some of the best email-safe font options to choose from, as well as a few other metrics you should take into account before deciding on a font.
What are some examples of email-safe fonts?
To better understand what makes a font email-safe, let’s first take a look at some different font families.
Traditional, trustworthy, sophisticated–those are a few words that come to mind when reading serif fonts, which is why it’s no wonder they’re often used for scholastic writing or newspapers. Serif fonts have letters with sharp, decorative tails, giving them a refined look, and many of them have been around for quite a while.
Take Times New Roman, a font that was first introduced in a 1932 publication of The Times of London, a British newspaper, and has enjoyed immense popularity in other publications such as books and academic papers. Or the font Georgia, which was introduced in the 90’s by Microsoft and is great for long passages because it’s highly readable and recognizable. Serif fonts are also a good look for a brand that might want to appear more established or as if it has a lot of authority in its industry.
Sans Serif Fonts
Sans means “without”, so these fonts are missing those elegant little strokes on the ends, but they have become very popular among brands in the last decade. Sans serif fonts tend to be used to give off a more modern or casual air and can be easier to read for people with low vision. A few examples of web-safe sans serif fonts are Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma, and Verdana.
These fonts easily toe the line between looking contemporary enough for brands who want a modern look, as well as being sophisticated enough for serious bodies of text. Arial, for example, is actually one of the most widely used fonts out there, which doesn’t make it the best choice for originality but certainly a great choice for readability, reliability, and neutrality.
This font family is what you’ll see if you look at any piece of text written by a typewriter. However, you’ll see some form of a monospace font if you’re a web developer working with code. These fonts were created because of the mechanical limitations of typewriters, but due to the amount of space in between the letters in this font family, monospace fonts are still useful today to provide readers with extra clarity, especially when it comes to information that can easily be misread, like code or numbers. Monospace isn’t a common choice for most brands, but it can work quite well for a brand in the tech space or for one wanting to play into an old-fashioned, minimalistic vibe. One popular monospace email-safe font you can try out is Courier New.
So, how do you choose the best email-safe fonts?
I know this sounds like a no-brainer but if your emails can’t be read, there is no point in sending them. You’ll just be speaking into the void wondering why your open and click-through rates are quickly dropping. But this can be avoided. As you’re testing out your fonts, if you sense at any point that a font you’ve chosen may be difficult to read or even skim through, try a different one (as long as it’s an email-safe font!). A tip to remember is that fonts with wider or more spaced-out letters tend to be easier on the eyes.
You’ll want to keep your font choices uniform within your emails. Instead of using a bunch of different fonts to highlight important points in your emails, it’s best to stick with one to maintain a smooth, professional look. To make certain sections of text stand out more, try bolding, italicizing, or underlining, as well as changing up the font size before attempting to add in another font style.
While most customers wouldn’t be able to tell you what fonts their favorite companies use, subconsciously they have a good idea of how text should and shouldn’t look depending on the type of brand. For example, if an online world news publication that you’re subscribed to emailed you a preview of their latest article, they probably wouldn’t use Comic Sans. Instead, they might choose a serif font like Georgia–something that says, “listen to us, we know what we’re talking about”. On the other hand, if a chic fashion store whose primary audience is teenagers sent out an email about their latest deals, they might use sleek sans serif fonts like Candara or Open Sans to put their audience at ease, instead of something more serious-looking, like Times New Roman, which could remind them of that research paper for English class they still haven’t started on.
The world of email fonts is expansive, which is why it never hurts to consult an expert. At Scalero, we have a team of email designers and developers who specialize in email rendering. You can always find us in the live chat if you’re ever unsure of how your fonts will render. We can present you with some suggestions and prevent you from playing guessing games.
For such a small part of the overall email design, choice of font is a pretty big deal. But if you can nail down a consistent, legible font that matches your brand’s personality in every email, you can ensure that your audience will pay closer attention to the meat of your message and keep them coming back for more.
The full list of email-safe fonts: